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34o                             THE GAY GENIUS

who was related to both the Su and the Chang families. Huang was
Chang Chun's son-in-law and at the same time the father-in-law of
Tseyu's third son. When Su first heard of Chang's banishment, he had
written to Huang: "When I heard the news, I was shocked for a whole
day. Although the place Luichow is very far away, it is free fron»
malaria. My brother lived there for a year and was quite comfortable]
Please tell your mother-in-law about this and tell her not to worry..
Now in reply to Chang Yuan he wrote:

"I have been a friend of your father for over forty years, and
although we have had political differences, our friendship never
altered. You can imagine what I feel when I hear that in his old age
he is sent to remote places by the sea. But what is the use of talking
about the,past? It is better to think of the future. The Emperor is
very kiijd. . . . You can judge by the title of the new reign [whi^fc
suggests compromise of party strife] ... So you should not worry.
As to what you say about my being able to decide the fate of others,
I am sure you're mistaken. I've seen enough troubles in my days,
and my only wish now is to be left alone to complete my journey to
my new home. Judging by my present condition, I cannot yet say
whether I shall get well. For the last fornight I have not taken more
than a cup of rice per day, and have a distaste for food generally. I
am starting for Changchow today, and I hope that I may have a good
rest there and that I shall not die immediately. I'm very tired now,
and must lay down my pen. June fourteenth [noi]."

St. Francis of Assisi, born later in that century, would have
approved. Together with Su's letter to Chu Shouchang against
infanticide and his letter of 1092 to the Empress begging for forgive-
ness of debts to the poor, this letter must rank among the three greatest
human documents written by the poet.

On June 15 he continued his voyage up the canal from Chinkiang
towards his home in Changchow. The news of his coming had caused
a sensation, and all through his trip on the wcanal, people gathered on
both banks to stage a spontaneous welcome. He was well enough to sit
up in his boat, wearing a small cap and a vest, leaving his arms quite
bare on the hot summer day. Turning around to the people in the boat,
he said: "They will kill me with their welcome!"

BIt was a short voyage, and he soon arrived at Changchow and put up
at a house near the east gate of the city, which his good friend Chien
Shihshiung had rented for him. The first thing he did was to write a
letter to the Emperor asking for complete retirement from politics. It
was the custom in the Sung dynasty for officials to be appointed on
semi-retirement as directors of temples, and Su had received the rank